Being a Working Student. Modern Slavery?
Being a working student is tough. In most cases, it means being responsible for absolutely all of your expenses – rent, travelcard, groceries etc. And, obviously, the more money you spend, the more money you need to get back. This is where the struggle begins.
Despite the common saying that London is the city of opportunities, finding a part-time job with a decent salary is quite a challenge for students. Most employers offer the minimum wage, sometimes even less (as the minimum wage in the UK is constantly increasing).
McDonald’s is the perfect example for that. They offer very low wages (usually below six pounds per hour for part-time workers) for long hours and exhausting jobs. It honestly sounds more like slavery to me, especially for that amount of money.
McDonald’s workers in Cambridge, probably, thought so too – they went on a strike in the beginning of September demanding a ten pounds an hour minimum wage and the ination of zero contracts. Seems understandable to me – from my own experience I can say that standing for eight hours can be really exhausting and is not worth it for five pounds.
Working in a restaurant is a different story, but again, you need to know where to look for a job or hope to be lucky and get one with a decent wage. I have been waiting tables in London for almost two years now. I cannot complain about my salary, but the struggle is not the wage, it’s the hours. I get good money (i.e. slightly more than enough) when I don’t do anything else and have enough time for more hours, but balancing work with university life and studies is challenging. You need hours, but you cannot actually work those hours because there are plenty of essays, presentations and group works that also demand time and do need to be done. But there is one good thing about being a working student. Being able to manage your time wisely is always a priceless skill.